Many freelancers and businesses do a great job of the prospecting process but fail to win business at the last hurdle. The quoting stage. This article will describe in detail how to create quotes that sell!

There are many important parts of the sales cycle, and while many factors affect the sale, there are a number of things you can do, to increase the chances of winning the sale and beating the competition.

Price and features offered are important, but an often overlooked component is trust. The most important thing that you can do is establish trust and credibility.

It isn't just about providing a price for the project. It's a chance for you to nurture the relationship.

A like for like quote with similar service or product features and pricing, will always lose to a quote that does a better job to address the client's concerns and win trust. I dare say, in many cases, a quote that establishes a high level of trust and credibility will outdo a quote at a lower price with more features offered.

So, what steps can you take to ensure your quote does the best to win business?

In principle, your quote is an opportunity for you to demonstrate you've done similar jobs before (or are capable of doing so), you understand the clients requirements, and that you're willing to do what it takes to exceed the expectations of your client.

##Key pages you should include:

###1. Cover Page

Even, if the job you quote for is simple; for first-time customers you should always include a cover page. The cover page is akin to shaking hands when you meet someone in-person for the first time. It's a chance for you to introduce yourself as a freelancer or a business, and a chance for you to acknowledge your client.

Your cover page should include, at minimum, the following:

  • A crisp, high-resolution logo. Your logo doesn't have to be a design-award winner, but it does need to be high quality.
  • A quote title I.e. the title of the project
  • The name of the key contact or the person that your quote will be received by, and the client company name
  • Date the quote was issued
  • Your company name (if you don't have a company name, replace with your name)
  • Your company contact details; at the minimum your website address, email address and telephone number
  • A short bio about you or your company
  • For example "KRM VENTURES operates a network of A-List freelancers around Europe and U.S to provide high quality digital product, business and marketing services to Start-Ups and Enterprises."
  • Quote number for client reference purposes

###2. Purpose of quote

The first page should always explain the purpose of the quote itself.

This is your chance to explain about how you work, what sets you apart from the competition and why the client should feel they are in good hands. You must demonstrate that you understand exactly what it is that the client wants in terms of who they choose to buy from. If there is any further information that is relevant to this particular quote as part of the prospecting process, you should include it in this page where appropriate.

###3. Objective

The objective page explains the nature of the project. i.e. exactly what it is the client hopes to achieve by receiving a service from you.

Clients look to be assured that you understand exactly what it is that they are looking for in terms of the project itself.

You should include the key contact or client name here, and explain the objectives in their words.

Mimic the language and terms they use as much as possible. It is important that you address the client's concerns regards the project here. Address all concerns and questions raised in your initial and subsequent meetings.

Start with a summary of the objective and address all areas of the project, such as design, development, delivery etc.

You'll win bonus points if you address areas that you are not responsible for but realise that the delivery of your project or product may support them.

For example:

John Doe would like to build a website that sells teddy bears that works on mobile devices and can take credit card payments in order to increase his teddy bear sales.

The shopping cart must load very fast, as John's user base prefers a fast loading website.

John would like to make sure the shopping cart can collect analytics data so that he can make marketing decisions based on the data

###4. Deliverables

This is the page that explains exactly what the client will be receiving. At this point it is acceptable to explain the technical details. Using the John Doe example above, you might mention the name of said shopping cart, a list of its features and links to more detailed information about the product or the service you offer.

###5. Understanding the quote

Show the client that you appreciate that they may not fully understand the deliverable. Explain the deliverable in simple, easy to understand terms. Prospective clients often fear being duped through technical jargon. Show that you are different and that you understand their concerns.

Even if the deliverables are easy enough to understand, explain elements that may be less clear.

You should also use this page to explain the different stages of the project, what you'll be working on first and what the client should expect from you in terms of the way you work.

###6. The quote

This is where you show actual pricing information. Try to break down as many of the components as possible and be descriptive so clients understands exactly what they are getting for their money.

###7. Timeline

Timelines are an excellent way to demonstrate you have a methodical approach to your work and a defined process.

A great fear for many clients is that their project will overrun. You can win their confidence by showing them you are committed to delivering the project on time and have considered things carefully.

###8. Final Project Deliverables

Clients want to know that you won't leave them hanging after project completion.

This page is an opportunity for you to demonstrate your commitment to the client by explaining how you'll "go the extra mile".

Again, using the John Doe example above, you might explain what you'll do in order to test the payment system and make sure it's working, or what steps you'll take to do quality assurance testing.

###9. Terms and Conditions

A terms and conditions page is extremely important. Not only does this protect you, but it shows the client that you've conducted business enough times before to know they matter.

Your terms and conditions page should mention all aspects of the quote including, payment terms, deliverables, delivery times and anything else that relates to the project.

###10. Thank you

Another page often missed by many as part of the quoting process.

Always thank your client for the opportunity to quote them. Make them feel important and show them that you value their business.

For bonus points, wish them the best for their project if they decide not to choose you, encourage them to give you feedback and offer to revise the quote should their requirements change.

##Things to avoid

A common mistake I often see that can adversely affect your chances is; using the quote as an opportunity to introduce your prospective client to your other products or services.

Never do this. It's not about you.

Always keep your proposals completely focused on the client and the project in question.

##How QuoteRobot will help you win the sale

Thankfully, QuoteRobot helps you put the perfect quote together in very little time with minimum fuss.

QuoteRobot has an elegant looking theme as standard that gives your proposals a very professional look right from the outset, and there’ll be more great themes coming soon.

With the built-in excellent timeline feature, you'll be able to create a timeline with just a few clicks by specifying the development time for each stage in a simple wizard. QuoteRobot will automatically create the timeline for you, creating a professional look with ease.

Furthermore, with the "content templates" feature, you'll can create templates for proposals that you can re-adapt and re-use, meaning you'll be able to complete new proposals in very little time. This is great for sending the same or similar proposal over and over.

This is a guest post by Khuram Malik, Digital Marketing strategist, Start-Up Specialist, and QuoteRobot customer.